Proposed Cairo parking law criticized

Main Street in Cairo. File photo

CAIRO — A new parking law will give local police more discretion over writing tickets.

The law will allow police to write handicap parking tickets, sets limits for how long commercial vehicles can be parked and provides a framework for future restrictions.

“It gives local police more options,” Town Supervisor John Coyne said.

Town Councilman Jason Watts said the law is excessive.

“It’s just so they can give out tickets when they feel it’s necessary,” he said. “We have laws already.”

The law could pose difficulties for businesses such as his family business, Watts Oil, he said.

“To say that you can’t have a vehicle parked over 12,000 pounds — with my business, my trucks are over 12,000 pounds so that means one of my servicemen can’t take the vehicle home if he lives on Main Street,” Watts said. “It’s too much for our small town.”

There have been instances of boats and small dump trucks staying parked on Main Street for two to three weeks, Coyne said.

“Parking in front of the few businesses we have on Main Street is an inconvenience for those folks,” Coyne said. “Ultimately, I want them to find the owner and tell them to move it before writing a ticket. If they’re not able to, then they have the authority to do that.”

Commercial vehicles, which include vehicles more than 23 feet in length or 12,000 pounds, vehicles with snowplows, trailers, boats, campers, motor homes, recreational vehicles, storage containers and heavy construction vehicles, cannot be parked on town streets or highways between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The law also provides options to put time limits on parking, prohibit stopping and standing, prohibit parking during certain hours or prohibit parking altogether when a resolution is passed by the town board.

Councilwoman Mary Jo Cords, who opposed the law, said it was too open-ended.

“The part about the handicap parking — that’s fine,” Cords said. “The rest of it, I don’t like how it’s so open-ended. There’s no designated streets, which at this point could mean you can’t park on every street in town.”

Enforcement could also be an issue, Cords said.

“I don’t like laws that people can enforce when they feel like it,” she said. “If it’s that important, it should be uniform. The law lent itself to too much abuse.”

Coyne expects the provisions of the law will be discussed and potentially implemented, as board members and residents bring up problem areas.

The board discussed using the new law to eliminate a parking spot on each side of Van Buren Drive to increase visibility, but no vote was taken.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(1) comment

Chatty

Poor. Town of Cairo has limited businesses to begin with... Let's try common sense and handle each case as it happens, not pass laws that punish legit business.

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